PUNE: In order to check if the mangoes in the market are ripened with calcium carbide, the Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) has collected samples from the city. Before the start of the season as well, the FDA had done awareness programmes about how calcium carbide is harmful to health. FDA officials noted that so far, they have not come across any mango sample that has been ripened with calcium carbide, but the checks are still on.
Use of calcium carbide leads to release of harmful elements like arsenic, phosphorus which may lead to life threatening diseases like cancer. Hence the FDA had issued an advisory suggesting to suppliers to use ethrel instead of carbon carbide.
Speaking to Sakal Times, FDA Pune Assistant Commissioner Sanjay Shinde said they had collected a few samples of mangoes till Akshay Tritiya for regular checks.
“As a regular activity we collect samples of mangoes during the season and send it for testing. This time we collected two samples from Market Yard. The idea was to check the samples for calcium carbide which can be harmful to health,” said Shinde.
He said that earlier, many mango suppliers used carbide to ripen the mangoes but it was found to be unhealthy.
“Before the season started we called in suppliers for a meeting, informing them not to use carbide for ripening. There were 55 mango growers and suppliers present for the meeting on awareness of adverse effects of calcium carbide on health,” said Shinde.
He said there is no way consumers can know if carbide is used for ripening. “Use of calcium carbide can be detected only through lab testing. Hence as a routine exercise we send samples. The test results for the same are still expected,” said Shinde.